Mosey On Over to January’s Highlights: Did You Miss Any?


020061L_Distant Thunder

Round-Up of the Best!



Perhaps you have just joined this brilliant band of blogites and have only read a few posts. Well, I’d like to tell you about this month’s hottest!

Most Hits This Month Hands down, the most popular article this month was: Good Grief! A 30 Point Deer! Shot with a Handmade Long Bow!” Over 2100 people viewed this photo in the last 30 days.

“Amazing Photos” – Most Popular Category

Lots of you are into “Amazing Stories.” This month, I posted three photos from Louisiana (thanks to MDH*):

Great Photos: That Wild Boar was Where?” This has been the most active posting of an item presented this month!

“Removing the Gamy Taste” Blogs Are Popular

The set of 4 ‘Removing the Gamy Taste blogs really struck a chord with readers. The daily readership (of one or more of the articles) has been great!

On the recipes front, ‘Deer Chili in a Slow Cooker‘ has been very popular this month. With all the cold weather we’ve had, lots of folks have fired up their slow cookers!

“Turkey Hunting” Series

This series is moving right along. I’m writing about a season that doesn’t start for a more than a couple of months because I’ve learned that the hunters who prepare for the season are more successful than the average hunter.

I was surprised to find out how much there is to learn about turkey hunting. I’m learning as I write; biologists have really broadened our understanding of these big birds in the last few years.

Turkeys may not be the brightest boys on the block, but they are noble adversaries — wily and shrewd are two words that come to mind.  As a hunter, the more you know about them, the better your chances are of feasting on one of these great birds! Thanks for reading. I love writing!


* MDH = My Deer Husband; also known as “He Who Likes to be Obeyed” – sadly he rarely is.


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Published in: on January 31, 2009 at 7:50 am  Comments Off on Mosey On Over to January’s Highlights: Did You Miss Any?  

Turkeys: Which Baby Poult Hatches First?



Mama Hen's New Recruits!


As a spin on the age-old question, we pose a new one – Which poult hatches first?  Is it the first egg laid by the mother hen, or the last?

Answer: No one knows!

Another Puzzle

No one understands how the poult can peck his way out of his egg with an ‘egg tooth’ that chips a nearly perfect line around the upper edge of the larger end of the egg.

In fact, that is how one can immediately surmise the outcome of the nest: If the eggs are smashed, a predator got to the eggs before birth. Otherwise, the eggs have clean pecks around the edge, as if the poults were unzipping themselves from their cocoon.

Early Lessons

If you recall high school biology, ‘imprinting’ is the process by which a baby learns to recognize her mother, her voice, her commands.

This bonding takes place in the first 24 hours; sometime before hen and poults leave the nest.  Once born, the nest becomes a liability for the hatchlings and mom.

The hen needs to feed the youngsters and predators abound. For the first couple of weeks, the chicks and mom are ground-bound.

Life of the Average Poult

Although the poult can fly at the end of the first week of life, the hatchling spends all his time preening, feeding, peeping. He relies on ‘dear old mom’ for warmth and security.

Between Day 14 and 20, the poult is able to move to the tree roost with his/her mom. The determining factor seems to be the weather; if the weather’s too cool,  the poults would rather stay snuggled up to Mom – on the ground.

The constant stream of  chatter is actually school-time for the youngsters. By the time they can roost in trees, they have developed quite a vocabulary.

They have also started to find their place in the family’s pecking order. Interestingly enough, the pecking order can change over time.

“Feed Me! I’m Yours!”

Poults need high protein meals at first: Bugs and grasshoppers. The wider the chicks range for food, the more likely he is to be attacked by hawks, and other predators. Generally, being in open, exposed areas makes attack more likely. As months pass, turkey chicks learn to thrive in their habitat.

By the first leaves of fall, the poults have merged into young turks. Their diet has changed from bugs and leaves to acorns and other foods on the forest floor.

However, they may find themselves in the cross-hairs of a hunter’s gun, if they learn to raid corn from his deer feeders.


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Published in: on January 30, 2009 at 10:43 am  Comments Off on Turkeys: Which Baby Poult Hatches First?  
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Just How Long Do Wild Turkeys Take to Breed?


020284L_Woodland Splendor_66 x 20_Turkeys

Turkeys Travel Together Until Mating Season!


Ben Franklin wanted the Wild Turkey to be America’s symbol to the world. Considering the way we toss around the word “turkey” (“Boy, that movie was a turkey!”), it’s just as well Ben didn’t get his wish!

The Mating Ritual Begins

As days get longer, this signals the beginning of the turkey mating season. Generally, the season takes place in March and April.

The tranquil lives of these birds suddenly starts to change. Gobblers (mature males) that have travelled together all winter, separate. Jakes (young  males) leave the hens and the hens start dreaming of new youngsters (poults).

These birds begin to act more aggressively (against their own gender) and the talking increases. Gobbling, generally, has two very active phases.

As sexual excitement starts to build, the gobbling increases. Gobblers are calling to females, expecting them to come to the male’s call.

Hunting Season Comes During Mating Season

There’s a major season of mating and then a shorter, later season, when females are starting to nest. At this point, males are more insistent and aggressive.

Lots of turkey hunters think that gobblers get sloppy during this later season — and are easier to catch off-guard.

Game wardens set turkey season during this time of increased activity. The birds are paying more attention to each other — rather than to hunters.

The Male Turkeys

All males operate through a rigid pecking order. The dominant male mates the most.

Since males are not worrying about taking care of any newborns, they have plenty of time to preen, strut and spit (the spit sounds like a sharp -‘fsssst’).

Uninterrupted, the large birds take only seconds to mate.   After a male finishes mating with one hen, he immediately looks for another.

Mating Season for the Hen

A few weeks before breeding, hens are looking for a nesting area, away from their winter roosting area.  She builds the nest on the ground, concealed in dead tree debris, in dense grass, etc.

After mating, she tends to lay ~ an egg/day.  Over the span of 10 – 15 days, she lays ~ a dozen eggs.

Before and after laying, she will feed and and rest in the near vicinity of her nest. Once incubation begins, she begins to talk and turn over her eggs. Incubation lasts between 26 and 28 days.

The dozen, or so, poults are born over the span of 18 hours, using an “egg tooth” to chip his way out of the egg. Amazingly, the chipping is in a fairly straight line around the wider edge of the egg.


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Published in: on January 29, 2009 at 12:06 am  Comments (1)  
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What is the Definition of a ‘Spike’ Deer?


Unbranched Antlers

Unbranched Antlers


According to the dictionary, a spike is an unbranched antler of a young deer.  Therefore, a spike deer is one that has unbranched antlers.

Before you get dewy eyed about this cute creature, please be aware that it is not what you want in your deer herd, if you are trying to manage for better deer yields.

Same Song, A Different Verse

If you are interested in  learning about this issue, I’ve written a series of 4 articles about ‘when to take (harvest) spike deer.’

Don’t take my word for it: Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas A & M University have done extensive testing to prove their claims.  My articles rephrase and explain their hypothesis.

1) Should I Shoot a Spike While Hunting Whitetail?

2) Why Don’t We Just Let that Little Spike Grow Up?

3) What About Spikes While Whitetail Deer Hunting?

4) “This Spike is Better Lookin’ Than Any Ol’
6 Point Deer

In a Nutshell

For those who just read the last page of a book: Spikes do not carry the genes for gorgeous racks. Culling them from the herd, before they can breed with the does, reduces their numbers – eventually.

This leaves antlered deer to breed and pass on their genes for full racks.

Does have an important role in all of this and TP&W also offers advice in this area.  From what I’ve read, managers who have taken their advice have noticed improved yields from their lands.


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Published in: on January 27, 2009 at 12:03 pm  Comments Off on What is the Definition of a ‘Spike’ Deer?  
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Recipe: Roasted Quail with Mushrooms


Quick & Delicious!

Quail: Quick & Delicious!


For best taste, field dress quail as soon as possible.  Because of their small size, quail are easy to do. For a video refresher course, see Rob Olson’s site.

Skin or Pluck?

Quail can be plucked or skinned. However, more flavor and moisture are retained in the meat if you leave the skin on the bird.

Freeze the meat immediately if  you don’t plan to serve the quail the next day.  Using quality vapor & moisture-proof wrapping or containers means the food may be stored in the freezer for 9 to 10 months (at 0 degrees, or lower).

Two More Tips

1) A friend (with freezer space) opens 1/2 gallon paper milk cartons, adds the birds (a meal’s worth), adds water to reach the 3/4 mark — and freezes the closed cartons. With this freezing system, he never has freezer-burned birds!

2) Thaw frozen quail in container or package — in the refrigerator — for 12 to 24 hours.  Our county extension nutritionist says this is a great way to tenderize the meat.

Roasted Quail with Mushrooms

4 quail

4 slices bacon

1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

Juice of half a lemon

1/2 cup hot water

1  small can of mushrooms, drained

Wipe quail inside and out. Wrap a slice of bacon around each quail. Put birds into a buttered pan and roast at 350 degrees, basting occasionally — about 30 minutes, or until tender.

Remove birds and add butter or margarine, water and lemon juice to the drippings in the pan, stirring to make a gravy.  Add mushrooms.

Serve the birds on toast with gravy poured over them.


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Published in: on January 26, 2009 at 7:55 am  Comments Off on Recipe: Roasted Quail with Mushrooms  
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How Can I Clean the Animals Mounted on my Walls?


He doesn't like to be dusted!

He doesn't like to be dusted!


There are 2 answers for this question.  First: How important is it to still be married when you finish this cleaning process?

A Difference of Opinion

Therein lies your problem — husbands have a different perspective on “mounted deer cleaning.”  My idea of cleaning is: Get all the dust-bunnies to take-a-hike and tear down the lovely spider webs spread between the antlers.

My husband’s view of this “deer cleaning” is: “Make this buck look like the day I brought it home from the taxidermist’s. His eyes should shine brightly — without any spider webs looped between his eyelashes.

When I look at him, I want to be able to relive the exciting first few seconds — when I zeroed in on this deer!”

My Reaction

I understand that it is impossible to yawn and roll both eyes at the same time.  So, I don’t try.  However, I do let my eyes glaze over.

How can this man turn cleaning (a dead deer, pinned to a wall)  into an emotional activity? Does he let my birthday become an emotional activity? Not on your life!

A Cleaned Deer Must be ‘A Guy Thing!’

In graduate school, we didn’t study this phenomena in either Advanced Sociology or Abnormal Psychology.

When I can’t find evidence in either of these texts, I chalk it up to — “It’s a Guy Thing!”  It’s safer that way!

Solution #1

If you have all your insurance paid up, you might try vacuuming the floor & running up the wall and catching that dirty deer napping.  Zip around his antlers carefully & try not to bunch up his fur.

This solution isn’t for everybody – like folks that have no where to go when ordered out of the house!  The next solution is strictly for the “sissy-set.”

Solution #2

Use a  feather duster to get the webs to loosen their grip on the antlers.  A soft, round makeup brush is great for dusting the eyelashes, whiskers and the base of the antlers.

If I have all day,   😉   I use the same brush to stroke the fur (downward only), pausing often to clean the brush in a damp cloth. (This is a GREAT technique to use while your husband is watching. He will be SO impressed!)

If I don’t have all day, I use a can of compressed air. Spraying with the hair (not against the hair growth), it is a fairly quick operation.

Two Warnings

1) I don’t “do eyes.”  I know they are only glass marbles, but I don’t touch them. Others, much braver than myself, spray windex on a Q-tip and gently clean them.

2) Our mule deer really likes it when I take the makeup brush to his inner ears. However, once you start this, he will nag you constantly for another ear cleaning.


After a few years of mounted whitetail deer/mule deer/squirrel/mongoose cleaning,  be careful, they start to talk to you …. Maybe that should be the 3rd warning!


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Published in: on January 24, 2009 at 4:42 pm  Comments Off on How Can I Clean the Animals Mounted on my Walls?  
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It’s Friday. Some Absolutely Worthless Info!


Great for Hunting in Snow!


This has been a hard week.  Since Friday has FINALLY arrived, let the silliness begin!

As I have mentioned before, WordPress has a nifty tool that tells us how people find our site.  Usually, seekers enter words into the search engine, and Google, or others, try to find a page with info to help.

Real Ghillie Suit

I certainly hope the seeker does not find a real ghillie suit.  About 30 years ago, MDH Richard brought dozens of burlap bags to me and asked if I’d make him a ghillie suit.

Obviously, I wasn’t in my right mind when I said, “Sure!”  So I started to cut, stitch and itch!  The burlap bags reeked; the stray fibers filled my sewing machine and lungs.

When I finished, I took a much-needed rest cure in a German sanitorium for folks who have taken in more dust particles than brain cells.

Actually, I learned that the original isn’t always the best. Those suits were hot, itchy and stank! It didn’t take long before manufacturers changed to lighter, washable fabrics …. And, I learned they were well worth the price!

Hunting Clothes for 7 year-olds

This is the second WordPress item of interest.  Even though there are fewer kids out hunting, they are dressed better than ever before!

Until this past holiday season, I didn’t even try to carry kids’ ghillie suits. Why?

No one could keep ‘kids hunting wear’ in stock! I don’t think manufacturers had an inkling how hot (popular) these suits would be!

If you are planning to get one of these suits for your junior hunter this fall, buy it out-of-season.

Ok, so today won’t be a total loss, here’s a hunting joke. I found it @

Today’s Joke:  He Walks on Water

An avid duck hunter was in the market for a new bird dog. His search ended when he found a dog that could actually walk on water to retrieve a duck. Shocked by his find, he was sure none of his friends would ever believe him.

He decided to try to break the news to a friend of his, the eternal complainer who refused to be impressed with anything. This, surely, would impress him. He invited him to hunt with him and his new dog.

As they waited by the shore, a flock of ducks flew by.  They fired, and a duck fell.  The dog responded and jumped into the water.

The dog, however, did not sink but instead walked across the water to retrieve the bird, never getting more than his paws wet.

This continued all day long.  The complainer watched carefully, saw everything, but did not say a single word.

On the drive home the hunter asked his friend, “Did you notice anything unusual about my new dog?”

“I sure did,” responded the complainer. “He can’t swim.”


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Published in: on January 23, 2009 at 9:10 am  Comments Off on It’s Friday. Some Absolutely Worthless Info!  
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The Plural of “Thermos”

Just to prove that we work 24/7 to satisfy the insatiable 

Working like a dog to find the answers!

Working like a dog to find the answers!


curiosity of our readers, here’s the answer.



ther·mos (thûr’məs) — Pronunciation Key
n. plural = ther·mos·es
A vacuum bottle used to keep beverages hot or cold.

[Originally a trademark.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


I know, I know…. now you want the question. (Some of you have been watching “Jeopardy” too long!)

WordPress has a nifty tool that tells us how people find our site.  Believe it or not, someone was searching for the plural of “thermos.”

Back, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I wrote an article joking about the plural of ‘thermos.’  I said I thought it should be ‘thermi.’

Based on this obscure reference, a search engine send some poor student of the English language to my site. The least I can do is set the record straight!

Probably, it’s too late for that person, but I’ve made it my personal goal to seek and report the right answer.

Now I can take a rest! Whew! This ice is cold!!


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Published in: on January 22, 2009 at 9:34 pm  Comments (2)  
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Recipe: Stuffed Wild Goose


Stuffed Wild Goose, On the Wing!

Stuffed Wild Goose, On the Wing!


For best taste, field dress a goose immediately.  There’s a super site that demonstrates the best way to clean a variety of fowl.

I suggest you try this: Delta President Rob Olson Demonstrates Techniques to Prepare Ducks for the Table.

Getting Ready to Cook

Young goose is a rare delicacy, with a minimum of waste. The meat is: dark, lean, and oh-so-rich.

Before your hunter leaves for the day, put your order in for a YOUNG goose. Old birds don’t take to most tenderizing methods.

The Marinade

Ducks or geese can be marinated in vinegar, wine or buttermilk. A quick way to get buttermilk is – just add a teaspoon vinegar to each cup of milk, stir and use.

Another marinate: add 1 tsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. vinegar per quart cold water. Immerse the fowl in this solution (in the refrigerator) for 4 – 12 hours, to improve flavor and tenderize.


1 young goose, 6-8 months, ready to cook (already marinated)

juice of one lemon

salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped tart apple

1 cup chopped dried apricots

3 cups soft bread crumbs

4 to 6 slices bacon

Melted bacon fat

Sprinkle goose inside and out with lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Melt butter or margarine in a saucepan. Add onion and cook until tender. Stir in apple, apricots, bread crumbs, salt & pepper.

Spoon stuffing lightly into cavity. Truss bird. Cover breast with bacon slices and cheesecloth soaked in melted bacon fat.

Place goose, breast side up, on rack in roasting pan. Roast @ 325 degrees (20 to 25 minutes/pound), or until tender, basting frequently with bacon fat and drippings in pan.

If age of goose is uncertain, add 1 cup water into pan and cover last hour of cooking. (I’d suggest you ask a goose’s age before shooting him/her.)   😉

Remove cheesecloth, skewers and string. Serves 6 to 8.

A word about the cheesecloth: Wild goose has very little fat. Bacon fat and basting — are two things that moisturize the meat, and keep it from drying out.

To that end, cheesecloth is a convenient way to keep a layer of fat on the bird during cooking.


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Great Photos: That Wild Boar was Where? **

18 February 2009: Jan found these photos on the following site: These photos are real – but the ‘big boy’ was killed in Turkey.

Jan says: “I don’t think they’re doctored (being in graphics for a long time). They’re shot at angles that make the boar appear bigger.”   Thanks again, Jan!

13 Febuary 2009: Dr. Dave notified me that these photos have been doctored. Keeping with my promise to keep stuff up, even if it showed me to be in error (as long as it did not harm others), here are the photos.

You can read the comments below and decide for yourself!



1800 Pounds of Ugly!


Get a load of what was running wild in Turkey! (error: said North Louisiana!)

I Doubt a Mom Could Love THAT Face!I Doubt a Mom Could Love THAT Face!

Why the glum faces, guys? You got him before he could run off all the tourists!

This guy brings new meaning to the word, "Porky!"This guy brings new meaning to the word, “Porky!”

If you saw more than 1,800 lb. of wild boar coming at you, what would you do?

Run for dear life?

Climb a tree?


Become a muddy splat in the road?


This is the poster boy for ‘saying your prayers’ at night!


MDH sent this a few minutes ago. Thanks!


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Published in: on January 19, 2009 at 5:03 pm  Comments (12)